Now our website has been live for almost a year it's time to properly start analysing our statistics, look at tweaking the design, do some user testing and really look at how we can improve it yet further.

One of the main and most used features on our homepage is definitely our course finder:
All of our courses at your fingertips!
A lot of development and testing has previously gone into this and we've been working with the team at Funnelback to make it a really user friendly search solution.

This led us to looking at the one big issue we have - being a multi-campus university (five in total) displaying related courses in the search has proven very difficult at times. At one stage, all courses with the same name but at different campuses yielded the exact same results. For example, a search for 'Accountancy' bought up five related courses also all called 'Accountancy' - with no indicator they were different! Definitely not the best for students weighing up the options of what to study...

That's more like it!
Well, finally we have a solution! Using the content collected from SITs (our student record system) our clever little course finder can now display the campus as well as the course title in the related courses section. This makes it much more intuitive, gives the user a much more tailored experience and helps them easily navigate between courses.

So there you have it, related courses that really are related. We think the styling looks nice too, and this is just the first step. We already have a project spec written up to improve the tabbed site search and include our many YouTube videos in the results - we have all the great and up to date content so why not use it?

Watch this space for many ongoing developments. It's an exciting time for the University of Bedfordshire website...
Fun, true...and can be used to cover up 'to-do' lists
A quick intro, as this is my first go in the team blog - I'm Hannah and my role in the gang is digital marketing assistant, sweepstake coordinator and deputy pod tea maker. We'll be taking it in turns to share what we have going on, and from me you can expect ramblings mainly around social media and video. But I'm starting with yesterday's inagural European Users' Summit, where Paul and I joined a 100-ish strong group of Squiz and Funnelback clients and staff. Despite fate (and broken ticket machines at Hitchin) conspiring against us, we arrived just in time to grab a cuppa and a pastry courtesy of the amazing hospitality team (shout out!) at the very grand English Speaking Union.

We'd decided beforehand to take the 'Design and Technology' track in the morning and 'Web Solutions' in the afternoon. Design and tech sounded really fun, and allowed us to be geeky without fear of mockery from our colleagues! And web solutions speaks for itself - if you work in HE you'll know where we're coming from there! There were plenty of familiar faces from the Squiz London offices presenting, and it was also good to hear from John-Paul Syriatowicz, the MD from the Australian offices in the keynote presentation.

So there was loads to learn, plenty of people from other unis to meet and lots of new products to find out about (credit goes to Squiz for not plugging them too heavily!)

Highlights for me? Aside from Matt's declaration that "your finger is not as pointy as a cursor!" when discussing the challenges of designing for mobile, there was a great runthrough of Squiz's Roadmap system, as well as a demo of Edit+, which by the looks of things could make a big improvement to how easy colleagues around the University find it to edit their own content.

But the most enjoyable and relevant part was kept until the end of the afternoon session, where Dave the Trainer (as he is always called here) ran through using HTML5 for Matrix forms and covered off the main differences between what is currently supported by each browser. We definitely picked up some tips that should improve our forms, which is pretty important to us given that form submission is one of our main response channels, in terms of registration for open days and recruitment events, requests for prospectuses, and registering of interest in future courses.

One last extremely important part of yesterday, the I ♥ Web and I ♥ Search competition - which, as you can see from the below, was won (with our loyal support) by Duncan, who I was sat next to, and who shamelessly stole all our jellybeans in his bid for victory. (And he never even shared his champagne prize...!!) 

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